Cashmere, lambswool and merino are all types of wool from natural animal fibres. Here, we explain the differences between these popular luxury wools – where they come from, how they are made and used.
Cashmere is sourced from the Kashmir goats, traditionally found in the Himalayan region of Kashmir. Whereas lambswool is as the name suggests from lambs, aged 7 months or younger. And merino wool comes from the merino breed of sheep.
Cashmere is known to be one of the softest fibres in the world. The Kashmir goat has 2 coats of hair, an outer thicker layer called a guard layer and a fine super soft underlayer of cashmere hair. This underlayer of hair is separated from the guard hair by a process called dehairing, the fibres can then be dyed and spun into yarn. The yarn can be woven to make clothing items such as jackets. Alternatively, the yarn can be knitted to make super-soft and luxurious accessories like gloves, wristlets, hats, scarves, socks and eye masks loving made by My Cosy Store.
Lambswool is made of the first shearing of a lamb aged around 7 months, or younger. This first growth of hair from the lamb is fine and soft, measuring around 5cm in length. Lambswool is favoured in as it is moisture-wicking, breathable and hypoallergenic, as well as being a soft fibre. Lambswool is therefore an ideal yarn to make accessories including beanie hats, scarves, mittens and gloves.
Merino wool comes from the merino sheep. The hair of the merino sheep is ultrafine in comparison to other sheep hair and can be finer than that of cashmere. Merino wool is typically sourced from Australia where they produce over 80% of the world’s superfine wool. Merino wool is best suited for clothing such as performance and technical sportswear due to its moisture wicking and easy care.